Toto Wolff believes that Russell and Hamilton have a good chance of a strong result on Sunday after a very close qualifying session where they finished second and fifth, respectively.
Marina Bay has given us one of the most interesting and chaotic qualifying sessions of the entire 2023. Red Bull has shown vulnerability for the first time this season, with both of their drivers out of Q3, which has been capitalised on by the rest of the teams.
Mercedes displayed great pace as early as Friday, just like Ferrari, who quickly established themselves as the fastest team of the weekend. Russell and Hamilton were consistently in the mix in all the free practice sessions, showing positive performance after a lacklustre Italian Grand Prix.
In qualifying, the competition was extremely close, and Russell delivered an excellent lap that placed him second on the Sunday grid, only 0.072 seconds behind Carlos Sainz‘s Ferrari and 0.007 seconds ahead of Leclerc. On the other hand, Hamilton finished in fifth place, trailing behind Lando Norris‘s McLaren.
“We did the best we could during this qualifying. George drove brilliantly on a track that Ferrari dominated in last year,” said Wolff to Sky Sports Germany after qualifying.
“With Lewis, the main issue was getting his tyres to reach the right temperature and there were also problems with the front axel. This has been going on all weekend now. I think that we are in a great position for tomorrow and we will see what happens.”
On Red Bull’s fall in Singapore
When asked about Red Bull’s performance this weekend, Wolff said that Singapore often tends to bring surprises, both due to the nature of the circuit and the typical chaos of the races. He remains positive for Sunday.
“As I said, this track was dominated by Ferrari last time and Lewis usually performs well here, however the track is full of surprises,” he said.
“If we think back to 2014 where Mercedes was doing brilliantly during the season and suddenly underperformed in Singapore.”
Indeed, with Red Bull out of contention (never to be ruled out, but they are far away), the grid is more closely contested than ever, and on Sunday, any team could secure the coveted victory. Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren are the favourites to achieve it, and should one of them succeed, it would be the first win of 2023 for a team other than Red Bull.
This motor sports news item came from: https://www.gpfans.com/en/f1-news/1003934/toto-wolff-f1-2023-singapore-grand-prix-qualifying-mercedes-lewis-hamilton-george-russell/